Questions about termites are common between pest control experts and homeowners. But you no longer have to wait for an exterminator to come to your doorstep before you get answers. On this post, I responded to 15 of the most common and important questions you may encounter in the course of addressing a termite infestation. Check this out:
1. Can termites send my house crumbling to the ground?
This question could be a little exaggerated for a typical household setting. Termites can’t easily send your house literally crumbling down to the ground unless you don’t make efforts to cure an infestation. Some abandoned structures could experience a massive termite attack that can send some parts of the property falling to the ground.
But to answer the query, yes, termites have the ability to do this. But only in a massive colony, years of infestation without treatment, and the size of the property. This is unlikely to happen if you’re living on the property as the signs of infestation will surely surface over time.
2. Questions about termites: What are the telltale signs of an infestation?
Wood damage, frass, discarded wings, mud tubes – these are just some of the signs that your property is infested with mites. Frass is the stool of the pest mainly made of the wood they munched. Discarded wings, on the other hand, is a sign that the termites had molted and is already establishing a nest in your house. That means that the queen and its supplementary egg-laying members are already expanding the colony.
When it comes to mud tubes, only the subterranean type will do this. Drywood and Formosans aren’t known for creating tube paths as they don’t need too much moisture to survive.
3. What’s the difference between flying ants and flying termites?
Flying ants have segmented bodies unlike the elongated ones of the flying termites, also called swarmers. If there’s a swarm of flying insects on your house, try grabbing one and examine the physical features. Flying ants have varying wings sizes and the termites have wings of the same sizes.
Another identifier between the two is the antenna. Termites have straight antennas while ants have curved or dented ones. Between these two, the termites are definitely the destructive one. Once it starts discarding the wings, your house will be its harborage and there would be damages in no time. The key here is early prevention.
4. Do termites eat all types of wood?
The answer to this type of questions about termites is yes, it will munch on any type of wood as long as it’s not treated with deadly chemicals. They are so organized in gnawing through it that some even start from the inside toward outside so they will go unnoticed. Aside from wood, they also munch on books, paper, magazines, and anything that contains cellulose.
But how do they get to digest the tough material? Termites have a combination of protozoa and microbes inside their tummies that make it possible to digest wood. Ecologically speaking, termites play an important role in recycling the wood material to the soil. However, it’s becoming detrimental to wooden structures.
5. What’s the lifespan of a termite?
An average worker mite can only survive for a maximum of two years. This is due to the fact that it’s working all day long munching on tough surfaces. Such lifespan is the same thing with soldier ants or nymphs in some termite types. But even if the majority of the colony dies fast, the fast-producing members will replenish the fallen ones.
On the other hand, the queen could survive up to 25 years or more. This will lay eggs on its lifetime, and when it dies, the colony will continue reproduction. The king will mate on the supplementary egg-laying members to expand the colony’s members.
6. Questions about termites How fast can a colony eat wood?
The speed of termites’ ability to eat wood depends on the size of the colony. A colony consisting of millions of members can munch through a wooden beam for a few days. If we’re going to scale it on a single termite point of view, it will take one mite about 3,000 years to consume all the wooden materials in a house. That’s 1,500 times its lifetime. But the bad thing is that termites never leave alone nor in a few dozens.
The type of termite is also a key factor in its wood-eating characteristics. Formosan types could be deemed as the fastest as they reproduce in a rapid pace that they could be in millions in just a couple of weeks.
7. What’s best, DIY or professional treatment?
To be honest, nothing beats the professional treatment approach when it comes to dealing with termites. Pest control experts have a systematic way of detecting an infestation as well as handling it for extermination. However, this will and might entail a higher price compared to using DIY methods. Still, it offers a higher success rate.
On the other hand, DIY remedies can help in containing, and possibly eradicating, a small infestation. But this could be a trial and error means of getting rid of the pest. It may take some time while the pest spread further damage and expand its colony.
8. Should I get inspected even if my house doesn’t have termites?
These questions about termites totally make sense, but if you think of it, you’ll never know if there are termites infesting your house unless you have it fully inspected. Some termites can hide on crawlspaces and walls only the advanced gadgets of exterminators could detect. This is the reason why annual inspections are in place for some households regardless if it had prior infestations or not.
So the answer is yes. Even if you think that your house is out of termite’s way, you should still invest on a regular inspection to ensure the integrity of your property. Besides, it’s added peace of mind on your part.
9. How can I prevent termites?
Prevention starts by removing the possible food sources or harborage of the termites. It could be the pile of wood in your garden, stack of paper, or cardboards you left in the attic. You should also check for pipe leaks that can supply the pest enough moisture to survive. Don’t forget to trim your foliage on your garden too.
If you want to prevent termites even before building your house, you should consider paying for a pre-construction treatment where the experts apply termiticides on the soil. Also, they will install barriers on the foundations and pipelines that could be possible entryways of the pest.
10. There are termites in my garden, what should I do?
Once you saw signs of termites in your garden, you should call for help or use some DIY methods to contain it. You could set up termite baits or apply commercially available termiticides by your own. Just keep in mind that doing it yourself might worsen the situation. The mites might just flee to another harborage in your property or they will dig deeper into the soil or wood they’re already harboring.
Calling for professional pest control service would be the good answer to this kind of questions about termites. It will cost some bucks but it will be the hassle-free method to deal with the pest.
11. How much would a termite treatment/inspection cost?
Termite inspections are priced at approximately $100 depending on the thoroughness and scale of the examination. Some companies offer free inspection for households but you’ll still have to pay for the Wood Eating Insect Report that may cost just the same. This depends if you have on an ongoing contract with a pest control company or if you’re pushing through with treatment right away.
Treatments, on the other hand, largely vary in price depending on the company you’re going to hire. Mostly, it will be in the price range of $4 to $16 per square foot. If the affected area is big, the higher the price will be.
12. What’s the best termite treatment approach?
Again, this will depend on some key factors including the type of termite infesting your home, location, and the weather in the area. Subterranean termites can be eradicated well with soil treatment as they usually form a network below the ground. Drywood and Formosan types would be focused on wood treatment as they harbor on the material they are foraging.
However, the location of the property will limit the use of chemicals and other methods. If your house is near a water source, a lake, for example, the exterminators would have to resort to chemical-free treatments as the EPA forbids the use of pesticides near a body of water. The weather will also dictate the effectiveness of a treatment. Too hot? Gas fumigation might be the best answer to such questions about termites.
13. How long would a treatment/inspection last?
A typical inspection would take about an hour or more depending on the size of the property. Hidden parts like crawlspaces as well as the clutter in the area would add up to the time. This is also the same with treatments. If the affected area is massive, it will take more than the usual one-day session to eradicate the termites.
You should take note that only the termite treatment will take place for a day. There are subsequent check-ups and inspection that will take place in the coming days to ensure the effectiveness of the treatment.
14. Questions about termites Are termites dangerous to my health?
There are rare cases when termites bite humans, but if it does, it would just hurt and itch. Disturbing the harborage of the pest may send the soldiers in defense mode and start biting the element that causes the threat. You don’t have to worry as the bites are non-poisonous although it may sting a lot.
However, some homeowners who have an allergy to wood dust and frass produced by the termites. With proper ventilation, this could be fixed together with proper extermination. Just keep in mind that the chemicals could also pose health issues so it’s better to vacate your property until the treatment settles.
15. How likely are termites to creep back after a treatment?
This depends on the treatment you’re doing. DIYs have the highest rate of reinfestation as it will only cover a portion of the affected area. Factors like the source of food, moisture, and continuous treatment will play a big role.
These questions about termites will surely answer some of your personal queries when it comes to dealing with one of the most destructive pests. Remember that this is just some of the concerns you may encounter along the way. It’s still best to consult with a local pest control expert to validate everything about the infestation on your property. Did this post help you? Let us know below!